Now He Wants To Be A Progressive
It's welcome news to hear that the White House is adopting a progressive tone and agenda for the 2014 midterm elections, but what amazes me is why they are only doing it now.
By their own account, senior aides are telling the media that progressive economic policies are actually "mainstream":
White House officials insist that their efforts to please the Democratic base do not conflict with appealing to independent and swing voters.
Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer noted that on many economic issues — raising the minimum wage, assuring pay equity for women, spending more on infrastructure and clean energy — polls show most Americans share the Democrats’ views.
“The position that is popular with the progressive base is the mainstream position,” Pfeiffer said.
Yet this White House has shown utter disdain for the progressive base of the party, opting instead for an inadequate stimulus, and a pathetic and way-too-long pursuit of "grand bargains" and spending cuts, all while resisting a full frontal attack every day against the GOP for their total lack of action on jobs since the 2010 midterms.
Moreover, up until recently, this same White House has rejected calls from the progressive base to relentlessly attack the GOP and hold them accountable for their deeds and obstruction, instead favoring to seek a bipartisanship that isn't there.
At this point in the 2010 midterm season, Democrats were grumbling that Obama was not blunt enough in his criticism of the Republicans. In private meetings, Democratic congressional leaders begged him to quit blaming Washington dysfunction, and be more direct in lambasting the opposition party.
The president is showing no reticence to do so now.
So what's changed? Political survival. If the Senate moves into GOP control, even if for only two years until more favorable winds blow back in the Democrats' favor in the Senate races of 2016 and 2018, Obama loses the rest of his agenda and faces a final two years of relentless attacks and investigations. And yet he and his team are only now realizing that energizing the party's base through an economic focus and holding the GOP directly accountable was the way to go all along?
Tragic, simply tragic. We will look back at these eight years and wonder what could have been if Barack Obama and his team ever governed as shrewdly as they campaigned.